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We Are Electric : The New Science of Our Body’s Electrome
We Are Electric : The New Science of Our Body’s ElectromeНазвание: We Are Electric : The New Science of Our Body’s Electrome
Автор: Sally Adee
Издательство: Canongate Books
Год: 2023
Страниц: 352
Язык: English/английский
Формат: epub (true)
Размер: 10.3 MB

Лучшая научно-популярная книга 2023 года.

Возможно, вы знакомы с идеей микробиома нашего тела - бактериальной фауной, которая населяет наш кишечник и может так сильно влиять на наше здоровье. В книге "Мы - электричество" мы переходим следующий рубеж научного понимания: открываем электромер своего тела. Каждая клетка нашего тела - кости, кожа, нервы, мышцы - имеет напряжение, как крошечная батарейка. Благодаря этому биоэлектричеству наш мозг может посылать сигналы нашему телу, почему мы развиваемся так, как это происходит в утробе матери, и как наши тела умеют самовосстанавливаться после травм. Когда биоэлектричество выходит из строя, могут возникнуть болезни, уродства и рак. Но если мы сможем контролировать или корректировать это биоэлектричество, последствия для нашего здоровья будут поразительными: "выключатель" для рака, который может превратить злокачественные клетки обратно в здоровые; возможность регенерации клеток, органов и даже конечностей; замедление старения и многое другое.

A New Scientist best popular science book 2023. A next big idea club must read 2023. A stylist book to bring you wisdom in 2023.

You may be familiar with the idea of our body’s biome – the bacterial fauna that populates our gut and can so profoundly affect our health. In We Are Electric we cross the next frontier of scientific understanding: discover your body’s electrome. Every cell in our bodies – bones, skin, nerves, muscle – has a voltage, like a tiny battery. This bioelectricity is why our brains can send signals to our bodies, why we develop the way we do in the womb and how our bodies know to heal themselves from injury. When bioelectricity goes awry, illness, deformity and cancer can result. But if we can control or correct this bioelectricity, the implications for our health are remarkable: an undo switch for cancer that could flip malignant cells back into healthy ones; the ability to regenerate cells, organs, even limbs; to slow ageing and so much more. In We Are Electric, award-winning science writer Sally Adee explores the history of bioelectricity: from Galvani’s epic eighteenth-century battle with the inventor of the battery, Alessandro Volta, to the medical charlatans claiming to use electricity to cure pretty much anything, to advances in the field helped along by the unusually massive axons of squid. And finally, she journeys into the future of the discipline, through today’s laboratories where we are starting to see real-world medical applications being developed. The bioelectric revolution starts here.

My brief foray into professional marksmanship is just one example of the promise and peril of harnessing our body’s natural electricity. We are fundamentally electrical creatures, but the full extent of our electrification would shock you. It is hard to overstate how wholly and utterly your every movement, perception, and thought are controlled by electrical signals. This is not the electricity that comes from a battery or the kind that turns on the lights and powers the dishwasher. That kind of electricity is made of electrons, which are negatively charged particles flowing in a current.

The human body runs on a very different version: ‘bioelectricity’. Instead of electrons, these currents are created by the movements of mostly positively charged ions like potassium, sodium, and calcium. This is how all signals travel within the brain and between it and every organ in the body via the nervous system, enabling perception, motion, and cognition. It’s fundamental to our ability to think and talk and walk and why our knee hurts after a fall, and why the scraped skin heals. It’s what makes gummy bears taste sour, why we can pick up a glass of water to wash away the taste, and how we know we were thirsty in the first place.

The stuff that comes out of your wall socket is created by a power plant. For the stuff in your body, the power plant is you. Every one of the 40 trillion cells in your body is its own little battery with its own little voltage: when it’s at rest, the inside of a cell is (on average) around 70 millivolts more negatively charged than the extracellular soup outside. To keep it that way, the cell is constantly shuttling ions in and out of the membrane that surrounds it, always striving to maintain that -70mv. All of this may sound very petite to you, somewhat beneath your notice. And, yes, at the scale of our lives, a difference of 70 millivolts is insignificant; it’s about one thousandth of the amount of electricity required to power a hearing aid. But from a neuron’s perspective, it is anything but. When a nerve impulse comes roaring down a nerve fibre, channels open in the neuron and millions of ions get instantly sucked through them into and out of the extracellular space, taking all their charge with them. The electrical field generated by this mass migration of charge works out to about a million volts per metre, which at that scale would feel like passing an entire bolt of lightning from one of your outstretched hands to the other. That’s what it feels like to be every neuron in your body, every moment of your life.

Part 1 – Bioelectricity in the Beginning
Part 2 – Bioelectricity and the Electrome
Part 3 – Bioelectricity in the Brain and Body
Part 4 – Bioelectricity in Birth and Death
Part 5 – Bioelectricity in the Future

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